C Natural II
Photographs of Jazz Masters
Performing at Yoshi's Jazz House
in Jack London Square, Oakland
by Gary Bean
101 8th Street, Oakland
through January 11, 2002
Over the last decade, Gary Bean's
home away from home has been Yoshi's Jazz House, where he has faithfully captured on
film the steady stream of jazz masters who regularly perform at the popular
Oakland nightclub. Along the way, he has built a unique historical record of great
moments and people in jazz, and of Oakland's central role in nurturing jazz talent. "It
started out as a way of making sure that people understood what's happening at Yoshi's
in terms of the important artists and important music," Bean said. "It's a way of
keeping the history of jazz, and specifically of jazz in Oakland, and making sure
there is a visual record of these important artists, many of whom are no longer on this
planet." In the last several years alone, Bean said, the jazz world has lost such
pillars as Stanley Turrentine, Art Farmer, Harry "Sweets" Edison and Gene Harris -- all
of whom appear in the current exhibit.
developed a trademark style that captures individual artists mid-note, using high-speed
film and available light. "I've always found flash to be artificial looking,"
he explained, adding that his technique conveys the ambience and mood of the
performances. While the images show unusual mastery of photography, Bean is in fact a
self-taught photographer who makes his living as a pediatrician in private practice in
Berkeley. "There are few things more spiritually gratifying than being able to serve
kids this way," he said. The financial stability provided by his busy medical
practice allows Bean to donate all proceeds from the sale of his photos to two local
music institutions that offer jazz training to children: the Oaktown Jazz Workshop and Cazadero Music Camp. In the works is a book form of the
exhibit that will likewise benefit these programs.
A classically trained musician who
as a child received piano instruction under a scholarship at Mills College in Oakland,
Bean currently plays keyboard, trumpet and alto sax in a local jazz ensemble, Schedule
2 (the name is a play on a medical term, and also alludes to the fact that the members
lead dual lives as musicians and professionals in other fields). Bean makes his
home in Oakland with his wife and three children, all of whom enjoy joining their
father at Yoshi's.
Special thanks to Mary
Ellen Landes of the Collectors Gallery at the Oakland Museum for her help in curating
and sponsoring this show.
Photos from top to bottom:
Billy Harper, Elvin Jones, Sonny Fortune.
All photos ©2001 Gary Bean.